by Tim Monetti
It’s been seven years since my neighbor and friend, Bruce Cope, returned from his first trip to Haiti. His passion was palpable as he told us of his experiences being one of the first doctors in following the horrible Earthquake that had ravaged the country. He and three friends were committed to doing what they could for the children there. The result was the creation of the Haiti Orphan Foundation (HOF).
It didn’t take long for my wife, Cathy, and me to decide to support their mission by sponsoring one of the boys. Photos of precious little 7-year-old Enoch captured our hearts and we looked forward each year to updated photos via annual trips taken by the HOF board members.
This year I decided to join them. Along with Bruce and a few of the other board members we boarded a plant to Haiti and the orphanage called the Grace Children’s Home. It was my great joy to meet Enoch in person. He is now 14 and prefers to be called by his adult name, Enochson, something I learned is traditional in Haiti when young boys begin to transition to young men.
What an incredible moment it was to meet him in person. At 14, Enochson is healthy, smart, quick to smile and still young enough to allow a hug! He is also quite the athlete as we discovered when we played a very spirited game of soccer with the boys. With one of the staff at Grace acting as translator, I was able to show him a picture of Cathy and to tell him how proud we are of the young man he is becoming.
I spent two days trying to learn the names of each and every boy. I did not succeed but that didn’t seem to matter. They knew me and called me by name, “Tim” (with that wonderful French Creole accent), then motioning for help with something or just wanting attention or a hug.
While each of the boys has his own personality, they all share a couple of wonderful traits. First, they consider themselves to be family, and the brotherly love they share shines through as evidenced by the many times I’d round a corner to find a group of them standing together, their arms wrapped shoulder to shoulder. Second, they are eager and quick to help with any project at hand. For instance, when a couple of us decided to relocate a pile of scrap iron away from where the boys play soccer, the boys jumped in to help without being asked. In moments ten or 12 of them appeared out of nowhere to help, doing so with joy and enthusiasm.
It is not an exaggeration to say visiting Haiti and the Grace Children’s Home was a life-changing experience for me. I’d encourage any sponsor to make the trip!